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Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta

Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta: Entries invited to take part in NZ’s oldest regatta

The Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta may not be the cutting edge clash of titans that the America’s Cup will be. But Auckland’s annual celebratory regatta can lay claim to being the older of the two events, pre-dating the challenge for the Auld Mug by over a decade.

One of the oldest sailing events in the world, the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta traces its origins back to 1840 on the day Captain William Hobson’s officials raised the flag – 11 years before the first America’s Cup contest was sailed in 1851.

The Auckland Anniversary Regatta’s own historic trophy collection, on permanent display at the Maritime Museum, is valued at nearly $100,000. There are 14 trophies in the collection dating back to the 19th century, and every year the winners’ names are engraved on their division’s trophy, securing their place in maritime history forever.

Organisers are anticipating a boost in both entries and spectators for the regatta’s 181st edition on 1 February, 2021, as the City of Sails gears up for a spectacular summer of maritime events. With the regatta scheduled to take place between semi-finals events in the PRADA Cup, followed by the 36th America’s Cup, and alongside the RNZYS 150th anniversary celebrations, there are high hopes for renewed interest in the historic spectacle.

Executive Officer for the regatta, Joyce Talbot, says those planning to be in Auckland for the 2021 regatta will have “a unique chance to see one of the world’s largest fleets of lovingly and authentically restored classic yachts and launches, alongside the most groundbreaking sailing technology in the world”.


Dinghy racing for over 20 classes takes place across the city - Auckland Anniversary Regatta. - photo © Peter Le Scelle
Dinghy racing for over 20 classes takes place across the city – Auckland Anniversary Regatta. – photo © Peter Le Scelle

Participants needn’t have a multi-million dollar budget to take up the challenge, with boats of all shapes and sizes encouraged to take to the water to celebrate the founding of the City of Sails.

There are divisions for classic and modern keelboats, mullet boats, and passage races for yachts in ‘cruising trim’. A classic launch race gives the owners of several beautifully restored powerboats a great excuse to parade their labours of love in front of an audience, while the tugboat race and display is a much-loved crowd favourite.

Over 20 different dinghy, kite and board sailing classes are catered for at host clubs across the city, including Murray’s Bay, Takapuna, Manly and Tamaki. While in the calmer waters of the Viaduct, Westhaven and St Marys Bay, dragonboat crews and radio controlled yacht enthusiasts will join those battling it out for victory and prizes.

Entry fees are kept as low as possible to encourage broad participation, and most of the funds are awarded back to participants as prizes. Together with a host of spot prizes, the prize pool for the regatta frequently totals over $10,000 in value.

For those staying on dry land for Anniversary Day, watching the regatta is a time-honoured family tradition in the city. Families are urged to grab a picnic and head down to one of the many great viewing points around Auckland’s coastline, to watch all the action unfold.

See full details of what to see, where to watch and how to enter the regatta on the newly launched Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta website:

Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta

Website: Facebook: Instagram: YouTube: Auckland Anniversary Regatta

by Helen Horrocks

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